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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I am planning on taking Ki-ki to agility trials, of course I am going to take her to classes first, as I know NOTHING about the technical side of it, and have read on it but have not found the answers to a couple questions so far.

I heard somewhere that they should not start the jumps until they are a certain age, What age is it?

Should she be fed a higher protein diet for stamina?

How often should we practice the facility by me has open ring times?

I found a few sites with "build your own agility equipment, has anyone done this and how does it hold up?

Any other suggestions, stories of experiance ect that you could lend would be helpful as well and appriciated! Thanks in advance!
 

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I would not jump your dog until she is at least 14 months. You want to make sure growth plates are closed and that you are not causing any damage to her bones. You can still practice with just the jump uprights and leave the bars on the ground - this way you can teach front crosses, rear crosses, etc... without physically jumping.

No need for a high protein diet just for agility. You diet depends on you and your dog and what is best for her.

I recomend training daily - short sessions a few times a day - five minutes is plenty. I train my dogs for their dinner - Vinnie does not get ANY free meals. Ever. Period. Even if it's crappy weather out, we'll work inside for his dinner - working on tricks or sits/downs. Just something.

You can easily build your own equipment. It holds up just fine.

Good luck and have FUN with agility - that's what it's all about!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awsome! Ok, so I have about 6 months to get her ready her ready then! Great! Work for dinner? Does he know he is working for it? Do you just prepare it show it to him then have him practice? Just curious as to how to get her to know she is working for it? I think it is a GREAT motivator, she LOVES food! She is going to be starting basic obedience soon, I have not decided if it is best to have someone come to the house or go to the facility we have near us yet. She is spooky so I think she needs a bigger class as apposed to a one on one. I am sooooo looking forward to it all!
 

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Here in England you can jump dogs in unaffiliated competitions at the age of 15 months. These consist of very low heights. Another thing to consider is the weaves. Some people recommend you leave these out until the dog is fairly mature. Toys usually stop growing at 7 months and then just put on body condition. The bigger dogs take longer to mature.

Regarding equipment, I use a child's crawling tunnel for tunnel work. I have also used garden canes stuck in the lawn for weaving pins. These same canes can be used with clothes pegs and piping to make little jumps. I also use cones with holes in them at various heights, so the dog can progress to the higher jumps later. A plank of wood on the ground will help them prepare for the see saw (you call it something different). Also, if your kids have got any skate boards lying around, let the dogs explore them and if they get on, make such a fuss. This prepares them for walking over moving objects. I use this in conjunction with clicker training. Just sit there and watch until the dog does something you like, then click and reward. You can shape this into the behaviour you want.

I go to organised agility classes on a Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We doggy dance every first and third Wednesday in the month and generally do bits of training in between. Agility is huge fun.
 

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I am also interested in doing agility with Roxy. I have noticed that all the agility training courses do not take puppies until they are 10 months old, and that you need to complete a basic obedience as a pre-requisite. So, Roxy is 3 1/2 months old, and we started with puppy pre-school and if room opens up in a couple weeks we will do puppy kindergarden and then at the end of August, we will start basic obedience. (she must be 5 months old).

In the meantime, I figure that I need to read.... what books would you recommend? Am I on the right track?

p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have not had any luck finding books here at my local Barns & Noble, so I have done most of my research online, infinite information, but there are some things that the sites I have found do not cover. I want to learn as much as I can, there are no agility trials withing 2 hrs of me until Aug-Sept time frame, I will be there when they are though! I think the closest is 4 1/2-5 hrs from me so, no go. Also HH is a childs tunnel going to be big enough for a spoo? She is 39 lbs and 22 in at the withers, I know it would be fine for my toys, but I am needing one for my spoo as well.
 

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Just a note on the building of equipment, it's a bit time consuming but surprisingly easy, and well worth having a couple jumps at home. A couple of years ago my mom and I ended up making almost every piece of equipment(except the A frame, dog walk, and tunnels). We can now easily set up different courses in our yard and try out new things. It's really convenient to be able to go outside and work some jumps. Plus you can still get Ki-ki used to going over jumps, just by having her walk over ones at the lowest setting.

Anyway, all you need are measurements and tons of PVC pipe and you're set to go!
 

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Making equipment is very fun and not all that expencive pvc is reconably cheap.
I used 6 pc put over top of a huge nails stuck in ground for weaves
I have used those poles for electric fencing that you step on as well 2 bucks each.
I then put a pvc pipe across the clip on it.
I made a tire jump out of a pool noodle and some duct tape and pvc.
Made a see saw even but burned it as didn't like the style I made.

Got a old drum from work and cut of bottom and top end for a tunnel only 2 ft long but it worked.

They do have puppy classes to learn the simple things and get them used to low equipment
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Fin and MCM! Those are great ideas, and I may have my hubby working on them! After I get them done, I will post pics of how I imagined what you were saying! A pool noodle huh? I would have NEVER thought of that!
 
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